Fetal echocardiography to check the heart of your developing baby
Fetal echocardiography is an ultrasound test that is usually performed during weeks 20-23 of pregnancy. The test enables your doctor to assess the structure and function of your baby's heart. This test is performed by a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in the field of echocardiograms. During this exam the physician thoroughly examines the structure of the fetal heart as well as its function. He will look at the at atriums and the ventricles, assess the blood flow to and from the heart's cavities and blood vessels, and evaluate the hearts electrical conduction pathway.
Situations in which a fetal echocardiogram is recommended:
- When one of the parents, children, uncles/aunts, or grandparents have a family history of a cardiac defect.
- When specific medication is taken that can be potentially harmful for the fetus such as antiepileptic drugs and antidepressants.
- When on an Ultrasound exam there is evidence of a deformity in other systems of the body, an echocardiogram is performed to rule out an associated cardiac defect.
- In women with a history of diabetes or an autoimmune disease.
- If there is evidence of a cardiac arrhythmia during routine checkup.
- If there is an abnormal chromosomal or genetic finding when amniocentesis is performed.
- If during a fetal ultrasonography a fetal cardiac malformation is suspected.
- When pregnant with twins, since congenital heart defects are more common in this case.
- When a woman conceives due to IVF treatments, since more congenital heart defects have been reported in IVF pregnancies.
The exam is performed here at our clinic by Dr. Tom Invinder, a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in fetal echocardiography and with many years of experience in performing this exam.